Adwords Keyword Match Types: Understanding Differences

Google Adwords is a complex network that is full of powerful features and tools.

If you’ve been using Google AdWords for a while, then you’ve probably seen the endless amount of options and settings that are available. One of these options is the ability to choose how you ads are triggered by certain keywords. You might assume that your ad only shows for a particular keyword you enter, but you’d be wrong.

Since Google is super smart, it can quickly determine keywords that are similar to your target keyword but are not exact. This means your adverts can be displayed for a whole range of similar keywords that are related to your main keyword. Understanding the different AdWords match types is crucial if you want to get the most out of your PPC campaign.

To help you understand how the difference AdWords match types work, we’ve put together a helpful guide on what you need to know.

What Are Match Types?

match types

Like we briefly touched on above, match types are to do with how certain keywords trigger your adverts. If Google made you enter every single keyword you wanted to display your ad for then this would be extremely time consuming and not efficient. Instead, you only have to enter 1 primary keyword and Google will use it to find similar ones to display your ads. To make things even more complicated, there are a number of different algorithms Google uses to find these keywords.

As you’ve probably guessed, they are called match types and can have an enormous impact on your campaign. Going with keywords too broad can result in hundreds of not so relevant keywords that might result in a not so impressive return. Going with keywords too specific might result in you not getting enough traffic and low conversions in general. Finding the right match type for your campaign is essential if you want to maximise your return. Let’s take a look at the different match types and how they work.

Adwords Keyword Match Types: Phrase

The first type of match type is the phrase match and includes all relevant keywords that include your main keyword in the same order. For example, if your primary keyword is PPC management then your advert will be triggered by keywords with that phrase in it. Some examples would be:

  • PPC management tools
  • PPC management agencies
  • Cheap PPC management

As you can see, they all have the original keyword phrase PPC management in them they just have other words at the start or the end. By using this match type, you can instantly target lots of relevant long tail keywords that are to the original keyword.

Adwords Keyword Match Types: Exact

The second type of AdWords keyword match type is the exact match which focuses specifically on just one keyword. Sometimes you’ll want to just target 1 specific keyword without having hundreds of other keywords trigger your ads. To do this, you need to use the exact match option to focus on just 1 keyword. For example, if your keyword is PPC management like we used before, then the exact match type would only trigger ads on keywords with the same meaning or close variations. Some keywords that would trigger your ad would be:

  • PPC management
  • Pay per click management
  • Management of PPC
  • Management of pay per click

From looking at these keywords, you might be thinking these all look very similar… well that’s the point. The exact match gives you the smallest range of keywords, but they are also the most specific. This is great if you have a highly profitable keyword you want to target and don’t want to waste money on other irrelevant keywords.

Adwords Keyword Match Types: Broad

The next match type you need to know is the broad match which is the standard default on every Google AdWords campaign. This match type gives you the broadest range of keywords ranging from misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations. If you want maximum exposure on your advert, then this is the setting to go for. Going with our example of PPC management these are the types of keywords that would trigger your ad:

  • Buy PPC management
  • PPC management services
  • PCC management
  • Pay per click services
  • Pay per click specialists

The list could potentially go on a lot longer, but you should hopefully get the idea. Anything related to the original keyword will trigger your ad which will often be thousands of different combinations of the original keyword. Having so many keywords can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Different campaigns will perform differently depending on what setting they are on. If you want the maximum return from your campaign, then it’s best to experiment with the different match types to see how they perform. However, before you go off playing with match types there is still one more to cover.

AdWords Keyword Match Types: Negative

The final match type on our list is the negative match type which is entirely different from the rest we have covered here. This match type tells AdWords what keywords you don’t want your ads showing for. As strange as it may sound, it actually comes in very useful. Say you’re selling a paid mobile app then you’ll want to target keywords that include the words paid and buy. However, depending on the match type you use your ad might show up for things such as free apps which you don’t want.

 Anyone who’s searching for free apps will be disappointed when they click on your ad and find out it costs money. This means no conversion for your and the waste of your PPC budget. To stop your ad showing for keywords like this you can tell Google to exclude them from the results. By using free as a negative keyword, your ads won’t show up for any keyword that contains the word free. It might not sound that amazing, but when this match type is used right, it can save you a lot of money from irrelevant ad clicks.

So there you have it, all the different Google AdWords match types you need to know. Be sure to check your campaigns to see which setting they are on and adjust them if needed to get the best results.

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